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4 Different Types of Food for Camping

A wooden table outside an RV.

Camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some time in nature. But there are also some surprising benefits of camping that you may not be aware of.

You’re actually giving yourself a chance to reset and recharge in a way that can benefit both your physical and mental health. Some of the benefits of camping include getting fresh air and exercise, improving your quality of sleep, and reducing stress levels.

If you camp in an area with many trees, you’ll also be exposed to more negative ions, which have been linked to improved mood, increased alertness, and reduced fatigue.

Furthermore, camping can also be a great way to bond with friends and family. Spending time together in the great outdoors can create lasting memories and help to strengthen relationships.

If you’re planning a camping trip, you might be wondering what food to bring along. You and your friends and family need to eat, right? Food is an important consideration. After all, you don’t want to end up hungry and cranky in the middle of nowhere.

You also don’t want to be stuck eating dry trail mix and granola bars for days on end. But at the same time, you don’t want to have to lug around a giant cooler full of perishable food. You want easy transport food that doesn’t require refrigeration, but you don’t want to live on rice cakes.

While there are countless options, choosing food that will be easy to cook and won’t spoil quickly is essential. The key is to strike a balance between convenience and variety.

With some planning, it’s easy to enjoy delicious, nutritious food on even the most extended camping trip. 

Here Are a Few General Tips To Keep in Mind When Planning Your Food for a Camping Trip:

A man and woman on camping with an RV.

One of the great things about camping is that it gives you the opportunity to try new things and be creative with your menu. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have all the basics covered, but don’t be afraid to experiment a bit.

After all, there’s no need to cook complicated meals when you’re out in the wilderness. Instead, focus on simple, hearty dishes that will fill you up after a long day of hiking. And don’t forget to pack plenty of snacks!

  1. Easy-to-prepare food is critical. You don’t want to spend all your time cooking when you could enjoy the surroundings instead.
  2. Food that doesn’t require refrigeration is ideal since you may not have access to one on your trip.
  3. Choose food that will give you the energy you need to hike, fish, and explore all day long.
  4. It’s essential to strike the right balance between convenience and nutrition. 
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When It Comes to Camping Food, There Are Really Only Three Categories:

  1. Things that will last for a long time without refrigeration.
  2. Things that can be cooked over a fire.
  3. Things that don’t need to be cooked at all.
  4. Things you can make ahead of time and heat up easily over a fire. 

Of course, each category has endless variations, but those are the basics. When planning your next camping trip, be sure to stock up on plenty of food from all three categories. That way, you’ll be sure to have something to eat no matter what happens.

Now, let’s get into identifying some foods within each category that you can bring on a camping trip.

1. Things that will last a long time without refrigeration:

Some things just don’t need to be refrigerated. For example, camping food. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere, the last thing you want to worry about is keeping your food cold.

Camping food is designed to last a long time without refrigeration. If you’re planning a camping trip, choosing foods that will last without refrigeration is essential.  

Dry Goods – These dry goods are camping essentials: 

A store full of dry goods.

Pemmican, for example, is a type of dried meat that can last for months without spoiling. 

Jerky is another camping staple that lasts a long time without refrigeration. 

Dried Beans – Although the cooking time isn’t ideal, they are definitely an excellent non-perishable food for camping.

Dried fruit or vegetables – If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, you can try making your own. Just slice the fruit or vegetables thinly and dry them in a dehydrator or oven set to the lowest possible setting. Once dry, they’ll keep for months (maybe even longer) without refrigeration.

  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars or energy bars
  • Chips
  • Jerky 
  • Trail mix
  • Candy, chocolate bars, and marshmallows
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut butter
  • Hard Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Spices

Canned foods – Here are some versatile canned foods options for camping:

A canned goods on store shelves.

  • Canned Chicken
  • Canned Roast Beef
  • Canned Chili
  • Canned Ham
  • Veggies – carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, celery, corn, mushrooms, green chiles, green beans, potatoes
  • Canned Beans – Baked beans, black beans, and refried beans
  • Pickles
  • Olives

Condiment Packets – Always ask for extras at the fast food drive-through so you can stock up on individual packets of ketchup, mustard, mayo, jelly, and honey.

There are plenty of meals you can make from these ingredients alone, so next time you plan a camping trip, be sure to pack accordingly. There’s no need to lug a heavy cooler full of ice when so many easy-to-prepare camping foods are available.

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2. Things that don’t need to be cooked at all:

Fruit and vegetables of white isolated background.

When camping, it’s crucial to pack food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Many of the items that don’t need to be refrigerated also don’t require any cooking. Canned goods, like fruits and vegetables, are good options.

Dry goods, such as crackers, peanut butter, and trail mix, are easy to pack and don’t require cooking or refrigeration. And, of course, don’t forget the marshmallows!

While they may not be the healthiest option, they’re perfect for roasting over the campfire and can also be eaten straight out of the bag. And don’t forget cold cuts.

While cold cuts may need to be kept on ice, they don’t take up very much space, and sandwiches don’t require cooking. A classic for a reason, sandwiches are easy to make ahead of time and can be customized to everyone’s taste.

3. Things that can be cooked over a fire: 

A couple grilling foods on camping near RV.

If you’re planning on doing any cooking while you’re camping, you’ll need to bring along some basics like a camp stove, pots and pans, and utensils. 

The key is to choose food that will give you the energy you need to keep exploring without weighing you down.

When most people think of camping, they picture cooking over a campfire. There’s something special about cooking over a campfire. Maybe it’s the simplicity of preparing food with only a few ingredients or the fact that you’re surrounded by nature.

Whatever the reason, camping food just tastes better. There are endless possibilities when it comes to campfire cuisine. With a little creativity, you can whip up some truly delicious dishes.

4.  Premade and Prepackaged Meals:

A bowl full of beef stew.

One of the best things about prepackaged camping food is that it takes all the guesswork out of meal planning, and they fit into all three of our categories!

Whether you’re headed out for a day hike or a week-long backpacking trip, there’s no need to worry about packing enough of the right food. Just grab a few prepackaged meals, and you’ll be all set.

Plus, prepackaged camping food is designed to be lightweight and easy to carry, so you won’t have to worry about lugging around a heavy cooler. Another great thing about prepackaged camp food is that it’s usually quite affordable.

Rather than having to buy different ingredients for each meal, you can simply purchase a few prepackaged meals and be done with them. So if you’re looking for an easy, convenient, and affordable way to feed yourself while camping, prepackaged camp food is definitely the way to go.

Another option is to bring along some pre-made meals, such as pasta or stew. Camping is all about returning to nature, so why not use the opportunity to get creative with your cooking? You might be surprised at what you come up with.

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These pre-made meal ideas can be easily reheated over a campfire, and they’ll provide a hearty meal after a long day of hiking:

  • Breakfast Burritos 
  • Pancakes – keep the batter in a water bottle. 
  • Overnight Oats
  • Banana Bread

If you’re looking for ideas on making meals from the items above, here are a few suggestions.

Foil wrapped potatoes on tray.

Canned soup: It might not be gourmet, but canned soup is warm, filling, and easy to prepare. Just heat it up over the campfire and enjoy.

One classic camping dish is foil-wrapped potatoes. Simply wash and slice a few potatoes or use canned potatoes, then wrap them in foil along with some butter, salt, and pepper. Place the foil packets directly on the hot coals and let them cook for about 30 minutes. 

For something a little more substantial, try ham and cheese roll-ups. Spread a thin layer of mustard on a flour tortilla, then top with thinly sliced ham and cheese. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted. Roll up the tortilla, then wrap in foil and place on the coals.

One popular camping food is foil packet meals. These are easy to make ahead of time and can be cooked directly on the coals. 

Another camping favorite is Dutch oven cobbler or pie. This classic dessert is cooked in a cast iron pot and can be made with any type of fruit. 

For a heartier meal, try grilling steak or chicken on the fire. Just make sure to keep an eye on the heat so that your meat doesn’t get charred.

Camping is an excellent opportunity to try new things and get out of your comfort zone, including when it comes to cooking. While plenty of camping foods require no cooking, such as trail mix and roasted peanuts, campfires can open up a whole new world of culinary possibilities. 

One of the simplest things to cook over a campfire is hot dogs. All you need is a grill or a stick to cook them on. 

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can try your hand at grilling some vegetables. Try slicing up some potatoes, onions, and peppers and then cooking them over the fire until they’re soft and charred. 

Or for something really different, try making s’mores with Nutella instead of chocolate chips. Just spread some Nutella on graham crackers and top with marshmallows; then roast over the fire until the marshmallows are melted and gooey. 

With a little creativity, you can make almost any dish over a campfire. So next time you plan a camping trip, don’t forget the foil and firewood! These are just a few ideas to get you started.